Billy Joe Saunders has pulled out of talks to fight Canelo Alvarez in September after insisting he does not have enough time for a full training camp in preparation.
The unbeaten WBO super-middleweight champion was set to defend his belt against the Mexican in May, before coronavirus stopped the fight in its tracks.
Talks were ongoing about a potential rescheduled bout in September, but now Saunders has revealed he will not be ready to step into the ring by then.
He told The Athletic: ‘I’m not ready (in) September. You can say to me, “Billy Joe, a billion pounds, but you’re not ready and you’re going to get beat.” I would say keep it.
‘Let me get ready, let me win and I will fight for free. I’m nobody’s stepping stone. I’m not another belt for Canelo. They want to try mind games… that don’t work with me, I play the biggest mind games in British boxing.’
The potential bout is also made complicated by the fact that Saunders’ boxing licence is still suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control after he posted a controversial video with mock instructions on domestic violence back in March.
He claimed it was a joke that had been taken out of context when he demonstrated how to hit a woman ‘on the chin’ in a video posted earlier this year at a time when there were fears of a spike in domestic violence due to the lockdown.
Saunders is still waiting for a date for his hearing, but that has been pushed back by the coronavirus too.
His decision to pull out of fight talks with Alvarez comes after he travelled to Spain with his trainer Ben Davison and fellow boxer Josh Taylor to begin training again.
But that time abroad was not enough to convince the Brit that he would be ready for a career-defining fight in just two months.
There are also some question marks over the fight fee Saunders would receive for coming up against Alvarez, after he revealed he was not offered the £6.4million originally quoted.
‘If they think they’re going to cut my money and cut me short, that’s not going to happen,’ Saunders added.
‘Considering he’s getting $35million (£28m), they come to me for a pay cut in September? They want to get short notice and a pay cut. Why not him take a pay cut?’